A huge fireball that streaked across the sky last week may have left a meteorite somewhere in Shropshire, scientists believe.
Experts at the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll) believe fragments weighing up to 500g – the weight of a loaf of bread – may have fallen somewhere south of Shrewsbury.
Planetary scientists spent the Easter bank holiday weekend searching the Shropshire countryside for fragments of the meteorite.
They have now appealed for help, asking locals to look out for dark shiny rocks.
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Dr Luke Daly, of UKFAll and the University of Glasgow, said: "We think about 500g of meteorite survived to the ground in approximately four fragments just south of Shrewsbury.
"Given the amount of wheat and oilseed rape in the area, we have been literally looking for a needle in a haystack.
"Now the UK Fireball Alliance are asking people in the area if they've found anything interesting in their back gardens or driveways over the bank holiday weekend to let them know."
The scientists have warned anyone who may have seen a meteorite not to pick it up with bare hands, and instead use aluminium foil or a sandwich bag.
Professor Katie Joy, of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: "The meteorite won't be hot and is as safe to handle as any other rock, but please don’t pick it up with your bare hands as that would contaminate the stone.
"It's probably a glossy black or brown colour, maybe with the dark crust broken off in places. The largest pieces won’t be bigger than an Easter egg, and the smallest could be the size of a mini egg.
"It may be in a place where rocks aren’t usually found, like on a lawn or footpath. Don’t take any risks looking for it and don’t go where you shouldn't. But if you do find something out-of-place, we'll certainly be interested to check it out."
The Shropshire meteorite fall comes just over a year after a meteorite was discovered in the town of Winchcombe in the Cotswolds, landing on a family’s driveway.
If you think you have seen a piece of meteorite, email the coordinates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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